Up until a few years ago, Lisbon struggled to make a mark in the European tourism sphere. This place was hardly covered by typical euro trips. However, now the situation is changing. Many travel mags and bloggers alike have started to give Lisbon, it’s long standing due. Despite the newly found spotlight, Lisbon remains, what I would call a true backpacker’s dream: authentic, affordable, culturally enriching and not as touristic as it’s famous counterpart, Barcelona, Spain.
I was often told by people that if I loved Barcelona (which I absolutely did!), it would be hard not fall in love with Lisbon. So after having traveled to Barcelona the month before (check out my Barcelona travelogue), Lisbon seemed like a natural choice back in the beginning of December 2016.
So I took a 4 hr flight from Berlin to Lisbon. Unfortunately, on this trip, I had a horrendous tryst with the weather. Torrential rains pretty much battered down half of my trip 🙁 . But hey! I did check out some amazing places while I could. So, this post isn’t like my other travelogues as the rain really inhibited the possibility of a continuous itinerary. I’ll list all the activities I engaged in and the places I saw on my 3-day trip. So here we go:
- Rossio square: The busiest plaza, located in the historical quarter of Lisbon, Rossio square is the popular name for Praça Dom Pedro IV square. Praça Dom Pedro IV column occupies the Centre of the wavy mosaic tiled plaza with 2 intricately sculptured fountains on either side. I spotted a few birds taking their early morning fountain shower 😀
- Praça do Comércio: The largest plaza in Lisbon sits next to the mossy and rocky banks of River Tagus. It’s characterized by a gorgeous arch and bright yellow buildings on its peripheral, that house numerous restaurants, pubs, and cafes. Right in the middle, sits the majestic statue of King Joseph I.
- Time Out Market: This place is a must go for foodies like me! Time Out makes up for all kinds of cuisines that you would find around Lisbon, all under a single roof. Delicious meats, Portuguese fish, Asian cuisine – highly recommended for those who are looking for several options in the same place. I dined here thrice during my 3 days stay in Lisbon.
- Basílica da Estrela: This ornate 18th century, twin bell tower church is a classic example of Portuguese architecture and is one of the most beautiful Basilicas in Lisbon. The interiors are enchanting and house the tomb of Queen Maria I.
- Jardim da Estrela: Right opposite to Basílica da Estrela is Jardim da Estrela, a landscaped tropical garden containing a tiny lake with little ducks in the middle. It’s a perfect place to relax and ease out a bit.
- Tram 28: Okay, so this was my postcard moment! Tram 28, a tourist attraction in itself, is a yellow vintage tram that goes through the major attractions in Lisbon. I hopped on it to travel to Castelo de S. Jorge.
- Castelo de S. Jorge: Getting off Tram 28, I took a short hike to the Castle. It was a bit confusing to find the main entrance as many other entrances had been barred. Nevertheless, after a few wrong paths, I followed a group of people who were equally lost and made it through the main entrance. The Moorish complex holds the castle, ruins of the royal palace and some elite residences. Situated up on a hilltop, it was the main seat of Portuguese power for 400 years, and today offers a breathtaking view of Lisbon and it’s river Tagus.
- Restaurante Casanova: Locals say that this place has the best Pizza in the whole Lisbon! It’s very much rightly so. I know we ain’t in Italy but I totally recommend this place 😀
- Gare do Oriente: The busiest station in Lisbon, Gare do Oriente, handles almost the same amount of traffic as the New York Central Station. This part of Lisbon features more modernistic architecture, and Gare do Oriente, with its impressive canopy structure, is indeed a forerunner.
- Passeio das Tagídes: Just a few meters from Gare do Oriente is my favorite part in Lisbon, Passeio das Tagídes. This gorgeous boardwalk literally runs on top of river Tagus between the Oceanarium and Vasco da Gama tower. On the top, one can see trolleys going to and fro. I found it extremely relaxing.
- Lisbon Oceanarium: It’s the largest salt water oceanarium in the world that showcases 450 species of fish and other aquatic creators. What really stood out in this oceanarium is the effort to instill the sense of responsibility for marine conservation among the visitors. Almost every info panel elaborately explains the human impact on the concerning ecosystem and suggested ways we could contribute to conserving the same.
My view of Lisbon:
Due of an unfortunate tryst with the weather, I wasn’t able to experience Lisbon the way I really wanted to. However, I thoroughly enjoyed whatever I managed to see. If you are looking for an authentic and not so touristic experience, then Lisbon is the place for you. I do plan to return to Lisbon again. Until then,